In general terms, all patients who undergo a laparoscopic fundoplication procedure should have objective evidence of gastroesophageal reflux. However, occasionally patients without objective evidence of reflux disease are referred for surgery. This study assessed the outcome of a highly selected group of patients who underwent laparoscopic fundoplication without objective evidence of reflux at either preoperative endoscopy or pH monitoring. Data from all patients undergoing laparoscopic fundoplication in our department over a 9-year period from December 1991 to January 2001 were collected prospectively. From a total of 1003 patients, a subgroup of 15 patients was identified who had no evidence of ulcerative oesophagitis at endoscopy or abnormal reflux on 24-h pH monitoring. Eight of these patients had typical symptoms of reflux (four had predominantly heartburn, four had predominantly volume regurgitation) and seven patients had atypical symptoms such as cough, bloating, chest pain, or sore throat. All patients had tried medication for acid suppression before surgery, with five gaining little or no benefit. The mean acid exposure time was 2% (range 0.1-3.6%). A correlation between typical symptoms and reflux events of over 50% was noted in three patients. All patients underwent laparoscopic fundoplication, with one conversion to an open procedure. Mean patient satisfaction score (0-10 linear score) was 8.7 at 3 months and 1 year postoperatively. Three patients failed to improve following surgery. These three all had atypical symptoms, a symptom correlation of less than 50% with acid reflux on pH monitoring, and two of the three had a poor response to medication. All other patients benefited symptomatically from surgery. We concluded that the absence of objective evidence of reflux should not always preclude patients from a laparoscopic fundoplication. Carefully selected patients with typical reflux symptoms can have a good outcome. However, patients who do not have typical symptoms and who respond poorly to acid suppression are not likely to benefit from surgery.